The National Society of Film Critics, a respected 53-member organization, has given its Best Picture award to Tom McCarthy‘s Spotlight. Their Best screenplay award also went to Spotlight, which was co-written by McCarthy and Josh Singer. Totally approved, no arguments, adding to the general consensus, etc.
The NSFC’s Best Director award went to Carol‘s Todd Haynes.
And yet they also gave their Best Actor award to Creed‘s Michael B. Jordan — clearly a pushback against Leonardo DiCaprio‘s award-season Revenant narrative (i.e., “he suffered, he froze, he ate a buffalo liver”) and just as clearly some kind of joke as no one anywhere has seriously spoken of Jordan’s decent-enough performance as being award-level…c’mon!
The NSFC did very well, however, by handing their Best Actress award to 45 Years costar Charlotte Rampling. Thumbs all the way up on this one. Plus anything that might slow down the momentum of Room‘s Brie Larson is, I feel, a good thing. She’s going to be nominated, of course, but that scene in which she freaks out after seeing her son safe in the back seat of a police car is an absolute disqualification.
Naturally the NSFC gave their Best Supporting Actor award to Mark Rylance for his skillfully subtle, bordering-on-somnambulant performance as Russian spy Rudolf Abel in Steven Spielberg‘s Bridge of Spies. Rylance is the safe default choice this year for critics who take comfort in voting exactly as they’ve been told by other lazy consensus followers.
Kristen Stewart won the Best Supporting Actress trophy for her interesting but far-from-historic performance as Juliette Binoche‘s personal assistant in Olivier Assayas‘s Clouds of Sils Maria, a mostly boring 2014 film that peaked in esteem 19 months ago at the Cannes Film Festival. Stewart has won awards for this perf from the French Cesars, the New York Film Critics Circle and the Boston Society of Film Critics.
The NSFC also handed a trophy to Carol cinematographer Ed Lachman for his 16mm period capturing of Todd Haynes‘ love story.